The Global Threat
of Ebola
Simone Bianco, IBM Almaden Research Center
© 2014 IBM Corporation
© 2014 IBM Corporation
The global threat of Ebola

Ebola virus an RNA virus

There is no vaccine and no cure

Low transmission, high virulence

Transmission from contact with body fluids
(blood, saliva, sweat, semen, etc.; <1m)

Increased transmission after death (2-5x)

A “behavioral” component


Long incubation period (2-21 days); high chance
that will spread from traveling carriers;
contact tracing
High mortality (~35% currently, >90% in previous
outbreaks; ~17000 infected, >6000 deaths)
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Modeling an Ebola outbreak response: STEM

Outbreaks need prompt response

Mathematical modeling of alternative scenarios

Consider air and land travel

Use reliable denominator data

Integrate datasets (humidity, temperature, wind, etc.)

Make reliable predictions at both local and global level

Free and open source (IBM to Eclipse foundation, US AF-SGO)
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Disease: Ebola
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Global threat of the West Africa Ebola outbreak
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Extensions
Ongoing


Contact mapping (with US Naval Research Lab, IBM Kenya Lab, Gov't of Sierra
Leone)
Behavioral/social components and their effect (with US Naval Research Lab and
College of William and Mary)
Proposed



Introduce vaccine (different strategies)
Strategic deployment of resources
“What if” scenarios:
- What if the infection can be transmitted before symptoms show?
- What if the infection increases/decreases in transmission/virulence
- What if the disease mutates and becomes resistant to drugs
- ...
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Example: Changing hospitalization/burial rates
Hu, Bianco, Edlund, Kaufman, under review on PloS Currents: Outbreaks
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Facilitating contact tracing: Citizen engagement




Education and citizen engagement based on analytics of transcribed voice
calls and SMS messages sourced directly from citizens
Partnering with Open Government Initiative (OGI) in collaboration with
researchers on the Africa’s Voices program at Cambridge University,
Echo Mobile, and telephone companies and radio broadcasting
stations in Sierra Leone.
Assess the effectiveness (understanding) of current public
service announcements (PSAs) (as expressed in local language)
Identify possible barriers to target behavior (from the PSAs)
and feedback to CDC, Govt, MSF, Red Cross, etc.
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Visualizing SMS/voice reporting (Freetown, SL)
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Preliminary impact (September 24-October 8) – Sierra Leone
Compared to the previous report (September 19-23):
Higher number of reported dead bodies (2-3 times increase in
reporting)


150 sick people identified

350 dead bodies reported and picked up

50 suspected Ebola cases identified
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Global IBM Ebola initiatives

STEM
https://www.eclipse.org/stem/

Citizen Engagement through SMS/Voice

Ebola OpenData Jam and repository
http://eboladata.org/

Coordination Technology to Nigeria
Weekly Ebola Scientific community call
https://wiki.eclipse.org/Weekly_Community_Ebola_Modeling_Phone_Call


Africa Health Care Delivery System Data Set
Public Health Solution for Disease Surveillance and Management (w GBS
Canada support

© 2014 IBM Corporation
Thank you!
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Additional Slides
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Example: Changing hospitalization/burial rates
Hu, Bianco, Edlund, Kaufman, under review on PloS Currents: Outbreaks
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Example: Changing hospitalization/burial rates
Hu, Bianco, Edlund, Kaufman, under review on PloS Currents: Outbreaks
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Ebola community weekly call
https://wiki.eclipse.org/Weekly_Community_Ebola_Modeling_Phone_Call
© 2014 IBM Corporation
Download

IBM - Corporate Council on Africa